Michelle Obama talks with CIAA fans Friday inside Time Warner Cable Arena. The first lady was in town for a political fundraiser and stopped by the tournament to promote her “Let’s Move!” initiative to combat childhood obesity. (Photo: Jon Strayhorn of Media Arts Collective.)

There was a special guest at Time Warner Cable Arena. First lady Michelle Obama stopped by Friday to promote her “Let’s Move!” initiative, a health and fitness effort that focuses on addressing the problem of childhood obesity.

“I am thrilled to be here at the CIAA tournament,” she said. “When I knew that I was going to be in Charlotte and we heard that this tournament was going on, I thought, ‘We have got to be a part of this in some way, shape or form.’ ”

It’s no secret that the Obamas are big on basketball.

“We are a basketball family,” said Mrs. Obama. “My husband is a crazy fanatic about basketball, and what better way to let kids have some fun and run around out here on the court.”

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan also attended today’s event and shared with the crowd her experience challenging President Barack Obama to a game of one-on-one back in 2008.

“There was a lot of pushing and shoving,” she said. “And he almost kept up with me.”

Milton and Eileen Baker

After offering brief remarks on the importance of eating healthy and staying active, Mrs. Obama and Sen. Hagan led a group of elementary school students in an obstacle-course-style basketball relay race.

Afterwards, Obama, Hagan, along with Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx and U.S. Rep. Mel Watt posed for pictures with students and a few CIAA athletes.

Milton Baker, an alumnus of St. Augustine’s College who has attended the CIAA tournament every year for the past 30 years, said that this year may be the most memorable yet.

“When my wife and I learned yesterday that Michelle Obama would be here, we were a little more excited than usual to be here,” he said. “It is very interesting to be here and to be able to be a part of this. We always enjoy coming to the tournament, but with Michelle Obama being here, it is certainly more exciting.”

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